Sarasota Museum of Art – Open House

Thursday 12 October 5:30pm
The Works, 891 South Tamiami Trail
Free; no reservations required

Sarasota Museum of Art Open House

Each season leading up to the SMOA opening will be an open house, a cafecito, a kaffeelatsch- whichever your preferred term for a casual community gathering cum lively conversation- designed to engage you with the museum’s process and progress. It’s not every day (or even every decade!) that a community gets to build a new museum, and they don’t want you to miss a moment of its evolution. Take this opportunity to engage with fellow Museum enthusiasts and find out “everything you ever wanted to know about contemporary art but were afraid to ask!”

The Sarasota Museum of Art

The Works, 891 South Tamiami Trail

Patrick Dougherty Selected for Ringling College’s “ARTmuse” Program

Internationally renowned sculptor Patrick Dougherty weaves large-scale architectural forms from trees, twigs, vines, and other natural materials. In January 2013, the artist will spend three weeks in Sarasota creating one of his unique sculptures on the grounds of the historic Sarasota High School and future home of the Sarasota Museum of Art/SMOA

Patrick Dougherty with his sculpture “Ruaille Buaille (Highjinx)” in County Offaly, Ireland; photo by James Fraher

Wendy G. Surkis, president of Sarasota Museum of Art/SMOA, a division of Ringling College of Art and Design, announced that renowned sculptor Patrick Dougherty will be here for SMOA’s 2013 “ARTmuse” program, January 7-26, 2013. His imaginative monumental sculptures made of trees, twigs, vines, and other natural materials can be seen around the world. During his three-week Sarasota project, the artist will build a site-specific installation on the grounds of the historic Sarasota High School, which will become the future home of the Sarasota Museum of Art/ SMOA. Surkis says the public will have many opportunities to view the artist at work—and watch his creation unfold and evolve. She encourages people to stop by the high school to see the work in progress.

“River Vessels” by Patrick Dougherty; Waco Cultural Arts Center, Waco, TX; photo by Mark Randolph

“This is a remarkable opportunity for our community,” says Surkis. “Patrick has exhibited his work around the world; we’re thrilled that he is coming here for SMOA. It’s an example of the fresh ideas SMOA will be bringing to Sarasota.” Surkis adds that it’s “pure joy to watch his creations come alive as he bends, twists and cajoles tree branches into large, dreamlike architectural forms that invite people to explore, wonder and wander through his amazing environments.”

“Close Ties” by Patrick Dougherty; Scottish Basketmakers Circle, Dingwall, Scotland; photo by Fin Macrae

Born in Oklahoma in 1945, Patrick Dougherty was raised in North Carolina and studied art history and sculpture at the University of North Carolina. Combining his carpentry skills with his love of nature, Dougherty began to learn more about primitive techniques of building and to experiment with tree saplings as construction material. In 1982, his first work, “Maple Body Wrap,” was included in the North Carolina Biennial Artists’ Exhibition, sponsored by the North Carolina Museum of Art. His work quickly evolved from single pieces on conventional pedestals to monumental scale environmental works, which required saplings by the truckloads. Over the last 30 years, he has built over 230 of these works, and become internationally acclaimed. Dougherty has received numerous awards, including the 2011 Factor Prize for Southern Art, North Carolina Artist Fellowship Award, Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant, Henry Moore Foundation Fellowship, Japan-US Creative Arts Fellowship, and National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. Princeton Architectural Press published a major book, “Stickwork,” about the artist and his work in 2009. For more information about Patrick Dougherty, visit

SMOA’s ARTmuse programs bring renowned artists and museum professionals to our region. According to Surkis, “They share their creative journey and impart a deep understanding of who they are, what they do and how they do it.” Surkis adds that these distinguished visitors give the public, “unique and meaningful learning experiences in an up-close-and-personal setting. Our enlightening programs provide Sarasota art enthusiasts a sense of what’s to come once SMOA is up and running.” Previous visiting artists have included Lesley Dill, Janet Echelman, Judy Pfaff and Seth Randal. This year’s Patrick Dougherty corporate sponsor is PNC Wealth Management.

Dougherty will participate in SMOA’s 2013 “ARTmuse” program, January 7-26, 2013. A celebratory first event, the “SMOA Inaugural Bash,” is Sunday, January 20, 2013, 6 p.m.-10 p.m., on the grounds of the historic Sarasota High School. The public is invited to meet the artist, enjoy libations and cuisine from The Sarasota-Manatee Originals, and enjoy the stirring sounds of Tampa’s premier dance band, Ace Factor. Tickets start at $125. For tickets and more information about this event, call 941-309-0118 and specify SMOA Inaugural Bash. For information about sponsorship and benefactor opportunities, contact Mary Lee Richey at 941-309-4732.

For more information about Sarasota Museum of Art/SMOA visit or call Wendy G. Surkis at 941-309-7662.

The Goods: Weekend News (03.02.12)

Sarasota Visual Art’s round up of information, upcoming exhibitions, and events. Gale Fulton Ross, Janet Echelman, Sarasota Museum of Art, Lynn Davison, Aaron Board, Sean Pearson, Kyle Petreycik, Robert Baxter, Beatrice del Perugia, Helen Romeike-Wisniewski

Featured Artist: Gale Fulton Ross
My only challenge is what do I want to paint on what day. I paint because I am free to do so; not to become famous. I am grateful for this blessing; I have the ability to make marks that people want.
Gale Fulton Ross
Red Tide
Taking Imagination Seriously – Janet Echelman visits SMOA
Janet Echelman is an artist who works mainly with commissioned pieces. She approaches her work as a challenge or problem to be solved and only accepts an invitation to create work that betters herself and the community it interacts with.
Janet Echelman at SMOA (Photo Credit: Aleksandr V.Gleyzer, WSLR)
Janet Echelman at SMOA (Photo Credit: Aleksandr V.Gleyzer, WSLR)
“In Your Face” – Figurative paintings by Lynn Davison and Aaron Board
Current – Allyn Gallup Contemporary Art gallery presents an exhibition featuring figurative paintings. The opening reception, with artists in attendance, is March 2, 6-8 p.m.
Lynn Davison
Party Time, Lynn Davison
Beach: Works by Sean Pearson and Kyle Petreycik
Closing March 2 – This exhibition serves as an undergraduate thesis exhibition that reflects each artist’s development in the past months in terms of artistic practice with a focus on sculptural works. Attention to materials, spatial relationships as well as ideas of escape serve as a common conceptual thread between both artists’ work.
Contemporary Contrast: Works by Robert Baxter and Beatrice del Perugia
March 2 – Beatrice del Perugia – “My offbeat way of seeing things makes me laugh. I hope it makes you wonder and smile.”
Dabbert Gallery
"Summer Solsice" by Robert Baxter, oil on canvas 28" x 39"
Hocus – Pocus: Works by Helen Romeike-Wisniewski
March 3 – Helen Romeike-Wisniewski’s roots on Anna Maria Island run deep. Her parents, German immigrants, built the 1950s island home where she currently resides and still spends time creating. Her life, much like her canvas, is rich in experiences.

Taking Imagination Seriously – Janet Echelman visits SMOA

Janet Echelman is an artist who works mainly with commissioned pieces. She approaches her work as a challenge or problem to be solved and also says that she will only accept an invitation to create work if she feels it can truly better herself and the community that would interact with it.

In addition to its fundraising efforts, the Sarasota Museum of Art continues its tradition of arts programming this year with ARTmuse – a series of invitational events for donors that offer talks and demonstrations by acclaimed visiting artists and curators.

by Jen Nugent

Janet Echelman is an artist who works mainly with commissioned pieces. She approaches her work as a challenge or problem to be solved and also says that she will only accept an invitation to create work if she feels it can truly better herself and the community that would interact with it. Her large outdoor sculptures “shape urban airspace, creating permanent, voluptuous, billowing forms, that are counterpoint to hard edged buildings in the urban environment.”

Janet Echelman at SMOA (Photo Credit: Aleksandr V.Gleyzer, WSLR)
Janet Echelman at SMOA (Photo Credit: Aleksandr V.Gleyzer, WSLR)

Echelman’s modest personality presents itself by way of her recollection of when a professor at Harvard had advised her not to pursue art. She claims that she was not what you would call a “talented artist.” Although later, she proudly admits that her first solo show was at the age of 23 and curated by none other than Robert Rauschenberg, who also bought three of her early paintings for his private collection.

Instead of attending graduate school, Echelman spend some years traveling throughout Asia and she spent some time in India on a Fulbright scholarship, which is where she first began working with netting. She was set to have a large painting exhibition, but her paints never arrived. Attracted to the fishing nets she watched on her evening walks, she enlisted the local fishermen to build a net in her desired shape. “In the worst moment of horrible pressure and anxiety, comes the moment of discovery”, she says. These early sculptures are of a more modest size than those adorning airports and cityscapes today. She also says that as she held them up with poles on the beach, “the wind (began) to interact with them and created a mesmerizing movement which I didn’t expect”, which consequently led her to installing them in the air.

Janet Echelman
Larry Thompson, Janet Echelman, Wendy Surkis (Photo Credit: Aleksandr V.Gleyzer, WSLR)

In 2010, Echelman was commissioned by the Biennial of the Americas to build a sculpture that could celebrate the “interconnectedness” of the 35 nations included in the Western Hemisphere. After seeing a video of the tsunami that occurred as a result of the earthquake in Chile, she realized that the “ripple” of the ocean connected not only the Western Hemisphere, but also the entire globe. The artist, along with a team of professionals, acquired data from both NASA and NOAA, built a 3D model of the tsunami and eventually translated the information into a unique “areal lace installation” that is currently traveling the world. The title “Tsunami 1.26” refers to the milliseconds lost in the rotation of the earth from the earthquake. Echelman also uses a fiber called Spectra®, which is actually a type of plastic that can act like a fiber so it retains the soft and fluid movement that attracts the artist, but is also stronger than steel and is resistant to moisture, salt and pollution. Apparently, these installations can survive both a blizzard and a hurricane.

Janet Echelman
(Photo Credit: Aleksandr V.Gleyzer, WSLR)

Janet Echelman is an internationally recognized Harvard graduate, a 2010-2011 recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship in the Fine Arts, and recently gave a TED talk about her work. Echelman was invited to Sarasota to speak as part of a series of artist lectures at the future home of the Sarasota Museum of Art.

Watch Janet Echelman on TED Talks:

You can also view more about her by visiting her website:

The Goods: Weekend News (02.03.12)

Sarasota Visual Art’s round up of information, upcoming exhibitions, and events. Bianca Pratorius, Gene Page, IV, Jack Gessley, Jack Gessley 3, James Griffin, Jennifer Basile, John Cage, Lesley Dill, Lester Jack Gessley III, Nathan Skiles, Palmetto Art Center, Sarasota, Sarasota Museum of Art, Sarasota paintings, Sooky Kim, Tempus Projects

Featured Content

A Conversation with Lesley Dill at the Sarasota Museum of Art
Sarasota Visual Art joined in on a Q & A with the Brooklyn artist at the future home of SMOA. The following are excerpts from this conversation with the artist.[…]
Lesley Dill
Lesley Dill, Poem Eyes #3, photo silkscreen shellac, thread on tea stained muslin, 152.5

Featured Artist: Nathan Skiles
Often when I’m asked if the clocks function my canned response is, “Yes, they do function, just like a painting of a clock functions” This ties directly to the question about my choice of working […]

Golem #1; cuckoo clock with tools, 2011, foam rubber, 15 x 14 x 11 inches

Olda Reviews: Things Not Seen Before
Nearly 100 years after his birth and 20 years since his death John Cage’s relevancy to the current creative world is as strong as it’s ever been. To be sure, Tempus Projects’ Things Not Seen Before […]

Among many others, art by Christian Marclay (guitar) and Andrew Deutsch (video)


Two Doors Down – Works by Jennifer Basile and Bianca Pratorius
February 1 – An exhibition featuring mixed-media paintings and drawings at Allyn Gallup Contemporary Art.


James Griffin: Luminous Color, A Journey
February 3 – An exhibit showing “our paradise of light and color”, a masterful series of Sarasota paintings.

"Early Winter Morning- Sarasota Bay" by James Griffin, 32" x 50", oil on canvas

Senior Thesis Show – Jack Gessley and Sooky Kim
February 3, 2012 – Exhibition of works by Sooky Kim and Lester Jack Gessley III
FAR OUT: A Black Light Art Exhibit
February 4 – Original artwork created by 17 individual artists to be viewed under black lights!


Photography Symposium with Gene Page
February 4, 2012 (7:00pm) – Palmetto Art Center plays proud to host sixth generation Floridian and Manatee County native, photographer Gene Page, IV, for a symposium that chronicles the experiences that shaped his career as an artist and photojournalist.